The Grace Extension

                           I like receiving grace.  Receiving grace makes me feel good, because it frees me from my wrongdoing, my selfish nature, and allows me to keep moving forward instead of staying stuck.   But when it comes to giving grace?    I am like a spoiled child with my favorite toy, I am not about to give away my grace.   Why? Because giving grace away requires much more of me than receiving it.   Being on the receiving end of grace is easy; being the one to have to give the grace is hard, sometimes beyond my human ability.   Instead of doing the hard thing and giving, I act like a child and keep it.   And the act of keeping grace  keeps me bound.  

                    God’s second greatest commandment to us is to love our neighbor as we love our self.   We easily love our neighbor (those around us) when our neighbor does everything right.   When our expectations are met, when we are loved the way we want to be loved, when they extend grace to us, when our neighbor doesn’t show us their brokenness, we love them.  We are happy.   We easily give them grace, because things are good, nothing hard is required of us.   Then the “uh-oh” happens. They disappoint us, they hurt us, they don’t meet our expectations, and they show us their brokenness.  In these moments something more is required of us.  They need our unconditional grace and love, given without restraint and expectation.   When we are handed hurt and disappointment the last thing we want to do is give these two blessed gifts. Instead we want to be angry, hurl hurt back, and do everything we can to hurt them as bad as they hurt us.   And in doing so we cause more destruction.

   This is not God’s will for us at all.  First and foremost we are called to extend grace and love without condition or expectation because Christ first gave it to us. Secondly, you give it because it keeps you free.  In Galatians 5:13 Paul states that we are called to live in freedom, not to serve our sinful nature, but to serve one another in love. Notice he doesn’t say only when you are happy and things are good, in fact he gives no qualifiers or conditions to this call at all.   It is simple.  You extend grace and love because it keeps you free. Free from bondage of sin, free from the bondage of destroyed and broken relationships. 

      Lately I have found myself asking how I can live in the freedom of giving away love and grace, especially to people who have hurt me or not extended me grace.  As I previously said, I am a spoiled selfish child, grace and love my favorite toys.   Then yesterday the answer smacked me between the eyes.  I can give grace because God gives it to me, and his word tells me that His grace is sufficient, and that his power (strength) is made perfect in my weakness ( 2 Corthians 12:9).  I have no strength to give grace on my own, especially amidst hurt.  So I admit my human frailty and throw myself on HIS GRACE, and HIS STRENGTH.  Then and only then can I give grace and love with no condition and no expectation.  And I am free.

                        

Advertisements

October 2, 2013. Tags: , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.